Sometimes our struggling learners struggle to write a complete sentence. Sometimes they can tell stories but not put them down on paper. Other times, they can write informally in journals and free-writes, but can’t organize an academic paper. What is the solution? True North Homeschool Academy’s Struggling Learners Department is now offering a writing class to help students learn how to write academic papers.
Our class will focus on the following:
- Writing a complete sentence (1-2 weeks)
- Organizing thoughts
- Selecting three areas of a topic to discuss
- Thesis statement
- Transition words
Other topics will be addressed as needed for each class, including but not limited to:
- Run-on sentences
- Word choice
- Using adjectives and adverbs
- Including examples and expanding papers
- Direct quotations
- Introducing appropriate vocabulary for a topic
Why are the class sizes so small?
Classes through our Struggling Learners program are kept small in order to facilitate a true cooperative learning environment with our students’ needs kept foremost in mind. The classes are individualized according to the needs of the students. Activities progress according to the progress and needs of the students. Our students are successful in this safe, fun learning environment. Higher-level thinking skills will be developed and supported in this interactive, small-group instruction that encourages problem solving, and works on metacognition, an important executive functioning skill related to study skills in all academic areas. Classes are warm and inviting, in an atmosphere where anxiety is reduced and thinking is maximized.
How is it different from tutoring?
Tutoring is a form of reteaching or breaking down learning into smaller steps to help someone who struggles. Our classes go beyond that, evaluating where each student is on a concept, and helping them be successful as they learn the concepts. We use questioning to guide students through the learning process, and to help them understand and correct mistakes they are making in the math processes. The classes are formatted as a cooperative environment where students see how other kids process the information and discuss how we think through games and questions. The classroom is a safe place to discuss how they think through information. The end result helps students to see how they learn, and to apply that to other areas of their academic lives.
Are you constantly coming up with story ideas, need a place to share your poetry or song lyrics? Do you wish The Inklings still existed? Would you like to improve your writing style in a fun and energizing atmosphere or co-create your own English class and credits?
This Club is for you!
Students set their own yearly and monthly writing goals, which vary from writing novels and poetry, to winning contests and finding an editor to publish, to starting a blog. We provide regular accountability and support. Weekly writing prompts, a place to read your writing and have it assessed, information on contests and writing opportunities, writing challenges, weekly skill building, group readings and helpful and positive critiques! Break -out rooms add to the comrade as we work together to write! Skill Building may included but is not limited to:
- Poetry Forms and Meter
- Sketch Comedy Writing
- Figures of Speech and Tropes
- Lyrical Writing
Each week students share book recommendations, briefly describing a books major themes, characters and plot, teaching students basic literary analysis and presentation skills. Books are rated and we create an on-going book list. Because of our students varied interests and age levels, our book lists are fun and eclectic. We publish our Creative Writing Recommended Book list each semester A perfect tie-in to other English courses,this class is an idea fit for those who want to hone their writing and creative skills, for those considering a career or for those who need an extra credit in English. The Jr. High Writing Club is available to motivated students grades 6 an up. This course is a perfect tie in to Speech as well as Civics! $80 per semester. Students can join mid-year.
Hi, my name is Emily Wilford. I’m sixteen years old (and totally NOT the sassy teenager my mother claims I am). Hailing from Iowa, I come from a rather large (aka LOUD) family of six kids, of which I am the oldest. I have been homeschooled since day one, and love the hands-on learning that homeschooling provides!
During the past few years, I have come to enjoy Latin, Shakespeare, and a wide variety of literature, as well as the meaningful friendships gained through my classes. In my (precious little) free time, I love to draw, read, and listen to music. I also enjoy camping, horseback riding, and ballroom dancing! Youth trips with my church are my favorite part of summer, and in the winter months, there is nothing better than to hide away with a good book and a warm blanket!
This last semester, I enrolled in a writing course through True North Homeschool Academy. Titled “Writing Club for Awesome People,” this course has not only been beneficial but also a total blast!
Every first and third Friday of the month, class commences with a unique creative writing prompt. Each student speed-writes whatever first comes to their mind. It is amazing how varied the responses are from a single prompt! Next, we dive into the lesson. We have studied a great variety of subjects, including (but not limited to): rhyme, sketch comedy, dialogue, setting, parallelism, and songwriting. This diversity has sharpened each point, as well as my writing as a whole.
To wrap up class, a few students read whatever writing they’ve been working on during the week. They are offered both encouragement and critique, as well as suggestions and ideas. It is enormously beneficial having not only a captive audience but a skilled and like-minded one to listen to and assess one’s writing!
There are four reasons why I have enjoyed this class.
- First, it has improved my writing skills- both creative and technical. Amid all the do’s and don’ts of good writing, tips and tricks are mixed in, all resulting in academic growth. The abilities I’ve developed over this short semester will stay with me for many, many years to come.
- Second, it has broadened my scope in creative writing. This class has encouraged me to try new styles and genres- I would never have thought to write a poem on my own!
- Third, this class has rekindled my love for writing. Often in my free time, I now feel the urge to elaborate and work on my stories- I had forgotten how much fun writing could be!
- Fourth, I’ve made some fantastic friends. It is so fun to be in a class with other middle/high school kids who love to write! They always have a book to recommend, encouragement to offer, and tips to suggest.
In conclusion, I would like to encourage you to consider taking a course from True North Homeschool Academy. Gaining experience, making friends, growing in knowledge…what could be better?
Interested in joining the True North Homeschool Academy Writing Club? Check it out here.
Emily Wilford is a sixteen-year-old homeschool student. She lives in Iowa, which is always either really hot or really stinkin’ cold. She really likes a lot of stuff, so trust me, I’m sparing you by only listing writing, mythology, Tae Kwon Do, horses, procrastinating, theater, and gazebos. You can usually find her reading a book while hiding in her natural habitat (aka under a blanket), and if not there, she’s probably trying to wrangle her five siblings (it never works, btw). She loves to sketch and listen to music, too; it’s truly amazing she ever gets anything done! Also, she finds it really weird to write about herself in third person.
Tween & Teen Book Recommendations from our Writing Club!
Because writers are readers, book reviews are a regular part of our bi-monthly Writing Club! Check out what our True North Homeschool Academy Tweens and Teens are reading and see if you can’t find something new to add to your book list!
- The Knight & Kingdom series by Chuck Black -5*
- Cross Roads by Paul Willis -5*
- The Boundless by Kenneth Oppel -3.5*
- Till We Have Faces by C.S. Lewis -5* An insightful, thought-provoking piece, done by the ever brilliant CS Lewis, on the old, well known Cupid and Psyche myth. Something to be aware of: this book is a CS Lewis masterpiece, and therefore if you do not look past the face of this book, then you have missed the entire point of CS Lewis. This is a layered book. And I mean LAYERED. Though the writing is simple enough, the ideas, metaphors, and insight are all pretty hefty. Don’t read this if you aren’t ready to think deeply.
- The Visitation, Frank Peretti -4* A burned-out pastor struggles and grows in his faith as a man claiming to be Jesus shows up in his town. Supernatural events turn the small town upside-down…he must take action. Good read overall- drags towards the middle, but once you get towards the end you’re almost afraid to put it down!
- Silas Marner, By George Eliot – 5* Set in old England, it walks through the life of a falsely accused weaver and his slow redemption.
- Fahrenheit 451; Ray Bradbury -5* What would happen if books were illegal? What would happen if America gave up on substance and chased after pleasure? Ray Bradbury looks into this idea in his classic, award-winning Fahrenheit 451. From the view of a Firefighter, whose whole job is to burn books, life isn’t going well. His wife almost commits suicide, he isn’t happy, and war is on the horizon. Through curiosity, and something like instinct he starts to snitch books, and after a particularly rough day, decides to see what’s inside them, which launches him into a odd sort of journey, or adventure, but I think it’s a little more interesting than that, I just don’t know what else to call it.
- The Unwanteds -5 *
- The Hobbit by Tolkien- (fantasy) -5* Bilbo was a hobbit. He didn’t do much, and he didn’t go anywhere. But he had a friend who happened to be a wizard, who decided that it is about time Bilbo ought to have an adventure. After being horrified at the amount of personality that can fit into the small body of a dwarf, not to mention their appalling manners, Bibo eventually joins a bond with the plus-sized personalities of the dwarfs and has the opportunity to have a riddle contest not only with a dilapidated hobbit but also a dragon. Plus he also gets to sing songs with elves, and travel through giant spider infested forests. What more could you ask for?
- The Menagerie Trilogy by Sue Ann Carter Sutherland -5*
- The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer Nelson -5*This is the story of a mischievous prince ascending to his throne despite the many obstacles. Five stars.
- The Lord of the Rings by J.R. Tolkien -4* When Frodo Baggins inherits a magical ring, he is thrown headlong into the quest of a lifetime. This epic novel tells a story of love, bravery and the extraordinary battle between good and evil. Although rather long, it is a suspenseful and action-packed read to the very end.
- Michael Vey series, by Richard Paul Evans 4* This seven-book series is the story of teenagers with abilities involving electricity. It is not strictly Christian, but an adventurous read.
- Kensuke’s Kingdom by M Markpuro -4.5*
- Wings of Fire series by Tui T. Sutherland -5* -Clay, Tsunami, Sunny, Starflight, and Glory must save the world with their awesomeness. A giant war is raging…but what can five dragonets do? Sutherland gives wonderful voice to her characters, and though it’s at an easy reading level, you can’t put it down until you’ve read cover to cover (or book 1 to book 5).
- Michael Vey series, by Richard Paul Evans. 4*This seven-book series is the story of teenagers with abilities involving electricity. It is not strictly Christian, but an adventurous read.
- The Ascendance Trilogy, by Jennifer Nelson. 5*This is the story of a mischievous prince ascending to his throne despite the many obstacles.
- The King of Shadows (Shakespeare’s Time) -5*
- Carry on, Mr. Bowditch -5* (colonial America)
- The Star Under the City -5* (WWII)
- Projekt 1065 by Alan Gratz -5* (WWII)
- Michael O’Shaunessey and his parents are spies in Germany during WWII. When he joins (infiltrates) the Hitler youth, things get complicated. This is a fantastic book. Humor, suspense, history, adventure…this book has got it all.
- Island of the Blue Dolphins by Scott O’Dell -4*
- How to Win Friends & Influence People by Dale Carnegie -5* One word: Fascinating! I don’t agree with all of his policies, but the amount of examples he gives as evidence of success is astounding! Dale Carnegie not only has an amazing writing style, and wonderful stories, but his content is worth looking into. Whether you are in the workplace, with your kids, or with human beings in general, How to win friends and influence people could be the answer to well, some, your problems.
- The Mystery & the Minister’s Wife Series -5*
- The Secret of the Golden Cowrie by Gloria Repp- 5* This book is about a little girl trying to find a precious shell while escaping danger along the way.
So there are our top book recommendations. How about you? What are you reading?
Book recommendations given by our amazing Writing Club members: Parker, Hannah, Emily, Gabi, Malachi, Ada, Venetia, and Sydney.
(Interested in joining the True North Homeschool Academy writing club? You can check it out here.)